Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

The founder of the far-right Breitbart News, Andrew Breitbart, was fond of saying that “politics is downstream from culture.” The Frankfurt School would agree, but add (as all good Marxists would) that culture is in turn downstream from economics, which is really downstream from rich people peeing in the river. At his least pessimistic, Adorno tells us that by asserting our subjectivity in the sphere of culture we can, in a way, weaponize our sense of self and the alternate timeline of modernity that lies dormant in us.

What Would the Frankfurt School Think of Social Media? (1) missing author 2 months, 1 week ago

The founder of the far-right Breitbart News, Andrew Breitbart, was fond of saying that “politics is downstream from culture.” The Frankfurt School would agree, but add (as all good Marxists would) that culture is in turn downstream from economics, which is really downstream from rich people peeing in the river. At his least pessimistic, Adorno tells us that by asserting our subjectivity in the sphere of culture we can, in a way, weaponize our sense of self and the alternate timeline of modernity that lies dormant in us.

—p.1 What Would the Frankfurt School Think of Social Media? (1) missing author 2 months, 1 week ago

But who gets to decide which news is fake? Adorno would probably cringe at the very term “fake news,” with its implication that most media outlets present news that is, in a distinct and meaningful sense, “real.” In fact, the main takeaway of Adorno’s famous “culture industry” theory is that mass media doesn’t lead to critical thinking and resistance — on the contrary. Every song, every movie is embedded in ideology, the cookie-cutter frame of our thoughts that shapes our interpretation of events and restricts our ability to think beyond what we believe exists.

“Film, radio, and magazines form a system,” he and Max Horkheimer write in their canonical Dialectic of Enlightenment. “Each branch of culture is unanimous within itself and all are unanimous together. Even the aesthetic manifestations of political opposites proclaim the same inflexible rhythm.” All “news” is, in a way, fake news — not because a bunch of entertainment execs are conspiring to brainwash us, but because we all make sense of the world through stories that are always partial and never complete. No matter how accurate we think our perspective is, in structuring our experience ideology inevitably leaves something out.

Chief among Adorno’s concerns is that in the culture industry, what gets left out is an understanding not only of the real mechanisms of power in society, but also of the possibility that those mechanisms could be changed. Submission in the realm of culture prepares us to be submissive in the realm of politics.

What Would the Frankfurt School Think of Social Media? (1) missing author 2 months, 1 week ago

But who gets to decide which news is fake? Adorno would probably cringe at the very term “fake news,” with its implication that most media outlets present news that is, in a distinct and meaningful sense, “real.” In fact, the main takeaway of Adorno’s famous “culture industry” theory is that mass media doesn’t lead to critical thinking and resistance — on the contrary. Every song, every movie is embedded in ideology, the cookie-cutter frame of our thoughts that shapes our interpretation of events and restricts our ability to think beyond what we believe exists.

“Film, radio, and magazines form a system,” he and Max Horkheimer write in their canonical Dialectic of Enlightenment. “Each branch of culture is unanimous within itself and all are unanimous together. Even the aesthetic manifestations of political opposites proclaim the same inflexible rhythm.” All “news” is, in a way, fake news — not because a bunch of entertainment execs are conspiring to brainwash us, but because we all make sense of the world through stories that are always partial and never complete. No matter how accurate we think our perspective is, in structuring our experience ideology inevitably leaves something out.

Chief among Adorno’s concerns is that in the culture industry, what gets left out is an understanding not only of the real mechanisms of power in society, but also of the possibility that those mechanisms could be changed. Submission in the realm of culture prepares us to be submissive in the realm of politics.

—p.1 What Would the Frankfurt School Think of Social Media? (1) missing author 2 months, 1 week ago